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5 Common Cat Sleeping Positions and What They Mean

5 Common Cat Sleeping Positions and What They Mean

What could be cuter than a sleeping cat? Moments earlier, the cat may have been running around, knocking things over or walking across your laptop keyboard as you tried to work. While snoozing though, that same cat looks angelic.

Cats always seem to find a comfortable spot to sleep, even if their position looks very uncomfortable. You’ve likely seen your cat in various positions when sleeping. Have you ever wondered what your cat’s different sleeping positions might mean?

It’s important to note that when trying to interpret sleeping positions or any feline body language, you should consider the cat’s typical personality and the current environment. Some cats have favorite positions and others choose based on their immediate circumstances. Let’s take a closer look at five common sleeping positions.

  1. Curled up Cat Ball

curled up cat sleeping

This is one of the most common sleeping positions, where the cat curls into a ball and wraps the tail closely to the body. One benefit of this position is that it helps the cat conserve heat. You may notice your indoor cat sleeping in this position more in colder months.

Being curled up is also a protective posture. This position provides ultimate protection to the vulnerable vital organs and also allows the cat to be small and hopefully unnoticed. In an outdoor environment, a sleeping cat is at risk of attack by larger predators so it’s beneficial to be able to appear as small as possible.

Your indoor cat may choose this position as well, even when there is no danger. It may be signal that your cat prefers to be left alone or maybe something in the environment is creating a little concern. Of course, it could also just mean kitty is a bit chilly.

  1. Belly Up

belly up cat sleeping

This position of sleeping on the back with belly fully exposed demonstrates total relaxation and trust. The vital organs are not being protected in this vulnerable position, so it says the cat feels completely secure. Another reason this demonstrates relaxation and trust is that it doesn’t set the cat up to be ready to spring into action.

When you see your cat in this position, resist the urge to pet the belly because you risk breaking that trust and security.

Since this is a very vulnerable position, you will rarely see an outdoor cat sleeping this way.

  1. Meatloaf

full meatloaf cat

modified meatloaf cat

This popular position truly resembles a meatloaf or even a loaf of bread. There’s the full meatloaf position where the front limbs are folded and tucked under the chest. There’s also a modified meatloaf where the front limbs aren’t folded but rather, just tucked underneath.

The meatloaf position is commonly used for catnaps. This is where the cat isn’t in a deep sleep but is staying alert to what’s happening in the environment. In this position, especially the modified meatloaf, the cat is ready to react.

  1. Sideways

side sleeping cat

This common sleeping position is similar to the belly up in that the cat feels secure and relaxed enough to be in a vulnerable position and not protect vital organs. The cat in this position is usually in a deep sleep but is more prepared to react than if in the belly up position.

A cat may also sleep in the sideways position to stay cooler if they get too warm.

  1. One Eye Open

one eye open cat

This is where the cat’s eyes are only half closed or maybe there’s one eye open. The cat displaying this position isn’t really sleeping. This is more of a resting position because the cat feels the need to stay more alert. You may even notice one or both ears move as the cat detects various sounds.

A cat may rest with one eye open in an environment where there’s noise or people/animals moving about, or if the cat is nervous. The reason for this position is based on the immediate environment. The cat may merely be staying somewhat alert in case the opportunity to pounce on prey presents itself, or maybe the cat doesn’t feel safe enough to go into a deep sleep.

There are Many Cat Sleeping Positions

We’ve just covered five of the most common but there are others, many of which, don’t look as if they could be the least bit comfortable but cats always seem to make those positions look effortless.

Does your cat have a favorite sleeping position?

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